When I was a kid I was awkward, clumsy, and literally tripped over my own feet because I was so pigeon toed my feet pointed towards each other. That led to a lot of bullying, not just verbal, I was beat up by my neighbors who were older. I stopped ridding the bus walking a few miles to school to avoid them. That just made me an easier target since they could ambush and beat me up with no one seeing. One day I was a mess and my mother noticed. She shocked me. She told me I needed to defend myself. I had to stand up for myself. I was surprised that it worked… well sort of, I needed Paul’s advise to Timothy.
Paul tells Timothy that God didn’t give us a spirit of fear/timidness/cowardliness. He provided us through His Spirit power, love and self-discipline. Those three go hand in hand. Power has to be tempered by love. Power is often abused because those in power take advantage of those in need. Self-discipline is mandatory for love to temper the power. It keeps us on the right track, it guards us from abusing the power.
When my mom told me to stop being timid she forgot to remind me I still needed to follow in Christ’s steps and love those that were bullying me. I was still too immature to have the self-discipline to not turn around and whack them back. Got me in trouble and the nickname Wild Bill. Not what God would want. God wants us to be tough to withstand and still love those who persecute us. When we are walking in Christ’s footsteps, Jesus himself said, we will face the same persecution that He did. We have to be durable against those attacks. God has given us the power to withstand them. He has also given us the self-discipline to not retaliate. He has given us the love to keep on proclaiming the Good News, Christ saves.
That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. -2 Timothy 1:12